4-364 Memorandum for Admiral King, April 22, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: April 22, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for Admiral King

April 22, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]


Subject: J.C.S. 803/1 (Induction in Hawaii)

Since the receipt of your memorandum of April 20 on the above subject and my discussion with the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Bard, and Admiral Crisp I have given a great deal of my time to searching out the complications in the matter and some method of meeting the issues.1 The importance of the operational efficiency of Pearl Harbor and its intimate relationship to actual combat operations in the Pacific are thoroughly realized by me. I am also aware of the complication regarding shipping between Hawaii and the mainland which would be involved if large numbers of individuals in Hawaii were drafted out of Hawaii and would have to be replaced from the civil economy of the Islands.

My embarrassment is to find a method that will not boomerang on the Army with destructive effect. General Handy2 and I yesterday tried to find a means whereby we could make the rule solely apply to the Navy and the Army would take the heat but I found that insurmountable complications are involved there though I should be glad to do this if it were arrangeable.

I recognize that one of the complications in this affair, the Navy policy not to accept inductees in Hawaii, has a sound basis and that the Army can take a risk in this matter that the Navy should not. However, it greatly complicates the particular problem of the moment and the application of the same policy to Puerto Rico doesn’t help matters.

I have a definite feeling of embarrassment in this matter by reason of the fact that the head of Selective Service is an Army officer and that the local Selective Service official in Hawaii is a Reserve officer of the Army. However, my relationship to these people has been wholly impersonal, in fact I have rarely ever seen General Hershey, I think I have had two conversations with him in the last two years, and I have never seen the man from Hawaii who in effect merely wears the uniform so far as Army affairs are concerned.

After a very searching consideration of the whole matter I have come to this conclusion: first, that destructive action so far as the Navy Pearl Harbor establishment is concerned will not occur during the next month. I am told that not more than probably 100 men would be involved in a separation from work with the Navy during that period. Therefore, secondly, I propose that we send our respective Inspector Generals to Hawaii immediately to make a searching investigation of the entire matter. I have already arranged for this on the Army side. Meanwhile I shall continue to study this to see if from my side some proposal can be developed which will meet your peculiar problem without a destructive reaction on the Army. I purpose talking to Mr. Bard again and going over with him some of the details that I was unaware of at the time of our conversation and I shall want to talk to you.

Finally, I suggest that in the interim the Navy accept the proposal of the Selective Service dated April 18 and addressed to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Bard, and that action be deferred on J.C.S. 803/1.3

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. Major General Lewis B. Hershey, the director of Selective Service, informed Assistant Secretary of the Navy Ralph A. Bard on April 13 that it was his organization’s intention to commence inducting men from the ages of eighteen to twenty-six in Hawaii, including those employed within the Fourteenth Naval District. On April 19 Under Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson, in a memorandum regarding civilian employees of the War Department working overseas, informed General Marshall of the difficulties of removing men from the civilian labor force who were engaged in military-related work. “It is possible that our problems are not the same as the Navy’s,” wrote Secretary Patterson, “and that our course of action should be independent.” (Hershey Memorandum to The Honorable Ralph A. Bard, April 13, 1944, and Patterson Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, April 19, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 327.02].) On April 20 Admiral King had written: “We are justified in asking special treatment for Hawaii in this matter. Such action is certainly consistent with the attitude that the Army and Navy are taking as to the necessity for martial law in that Territory.” (King Memorandum to General Marshall, April 20, 1944, NA/RG 80 [Central Correspondence of the Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations, File P14-6/ ND14].)

On April 22 Brigadier General Otto L. Nelson (U.S.M.A., 1924), assistant deputy chief of staff, informed Marshall that the territorial director for Selective Service for Hawaii, Lieutenant Colonel Solomon, reported that while the army was cooperating with Selective Service in Hawaii, the navy was not. Solomon gave his opinion that “the Navy in Hawaii is extravagant in their use of civilian personnel and in their requests for deferments.” Nelson advised, “It appears that the Navy and Selective Service in Hawaii are embroiled in a fight in which the Army would do well not to become involved.” (Nelson Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, April 22, 1944, ibid.) General Marshall had met with Assistant Secretary of the Navy Bard and Rear Admiral Frederick G. Crisp (U.S.N.A., 1913), director of civilian personnel for the Navy Department, on April 21.

2. Major General Thomas T. Handy was assistant chief of staff for Operations.

3. Admiral Ernest J. King replied on April 22 that the U.S. Navy was unwilling to concede to Hershey’s proposal as outlined to Secretary Bard and that the navy was investigating the matter independently of the U.S. Army Inspector General’s Office. Admiral King concluded that he was becoming convinced that President Roosevelt should be asked to “declare Hawaii, as a combat area, outside of the application of the Selective Service Act.” (King Memorandum for General Marshall, April 22, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 327.02].)

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 427-429.

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